August 14, 2015
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 5|
In the past five years or so, the 'Reggae Revival' movement in Jamaica has developed into a powerful cultural force. It's actually an explosion of artistic expressions with music at the forefront, gradually influencing the mentality of the present generation towards positivity. Along with the 'Reggae Revival' movement, a new crop of artists emerged including vocalists such as Protoje, Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Jah9, Jesse Royal, Dre Island, Exile Di Brave and Micah Shemaiah, who all deliver music with messages rooted in Rastafarianism.
Micah Shemaiah was born into the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the main Rasta organisation, and grew up with the music of the great foundation artists. In 2009 he released his self-produced debut album "Rasta Meditation", which stayed under the radar of the international reggae community. Four years later, the delightful "Dread At The Control" and the brilliant "Reggae Rockit" (both featured on the "Shalalak" compilation album) suddenly grabbed the attention of the European reggae lovers. These singles and a few others that followed made fully clear that Micah Shemaiah is an artist who, in every aspect, strives for quality in his work.
Micah Shemaiah's sophomore album entitled "Orginal Dread" is a superb collection, produced by himself in collaboration with Will Tee of UK based Descendant Music. Beautifully illustrated by UK visual artist Mau Mau, the album features 12 great tracks, which recall the values of the golden era of Jamaican roots reggae. It's the title track, the crucial roots anthem "Original Dread", that gets things started with incredible vibes. The song, which tells the listener about original Rastafari livity, is a real scorcher across a wicked riddim with an awesome bassline and wonderful sounding horns. It's followed by "Dub Dread", a blistering dub version that kills it all!! Next comes a beautiful ode to his “Black Black” girl, a big tune underpinned by a deep roots riddim. “Spengaleng” - featuring Brigadier Jerry's son TJ aka Likkle Briggie - takes us back to the days when Jamaican singers and deejays honed and perfected their craft on sound systems like Stur Gav Hi Fi, Jah Love, Kilimanjaro, Gemini and Volcano Hi Power. Riddim spotters will recognize the riddim as an updated version of Baba Brooks' "Shank I Sheck" from 1964.
The previously released single "Eezy Breezy", done in collaboration with Exile Di Brave, has a light-hearted feel and a positive vibe. But then there's the booming "Eezy Version" to show the listener that the riddim - when properly dubbed up - is much heavier than one might expect after having heard the vocal track. The ska-tingled "Smile" is a nice track to hear, both lyrically and musically. After this song the listener is treated to the most impressive part of the album. It all begins with the killer "If I Could", a song of sheer beauty that features guest appearances from Addis Pablo, Infinite & Jahkime. This is a serious song full of positivism and righteousness, a bonafide classic!! Wheel & come again!! As a very welcome bonus there's the irresistible "If I Could Dub" with Addis Pablo blowing the melodica in a way that brings back memories of his legendary father. The sultry vocals of Nicole Miller accompany Micah Shemaiah on "Truths & Rights", a great song followed by an equally great "Rightful Version". The album is rounded off with "Dread On Yah", another killer tune across a revitalized version of Hugh Mundell's "Jacqueline" riddim.
This "Original Dread" album shows that Micah Shemaiah is currently one of the most powerful talents to come out of Jamaica.